Kuwait proposes segregating hospitals

Plan would mean only Kuwaitis can attend hospital in morning, with expats in evening

Kuwait’s Health Ministry is considering designating specific hours of the day that nationals and expats can seek medical assistance, in a proposal some have described as racist.

Under the plan, only Kuwaitis would be allowed to attend hospitals and clinics in the morning, while non-nationals would be treated only in the evening.

Staff also would be segregated according to their nationality, while emergencies would be excluded from the plan.

The move is seen as favourable to locals while reducing the level of care given to expats, who make up about two-thirds of Kuwait’s population but would have fewer hours they could seek medical attention.

Jahra Health Zone director Dr Abdelaziz Al-Farhoud told the Kuwait Times that the proposed segregation meant Kuwaitis were more likely to see a local doctor because they generally worked in the morning, while expat doctors filled the later shifts.

However, Human Path Organisation secretary Taher Al-Baghly told the newspaper the decision “discriminates in how service is presented based on nationality”.

“The health service will not be equal, because consultants work in the morning and this will lead to variations in service levels,” he said.

Psychological advisor Iman Al-Bedah said the proposal was “dangerous at all levels” and would discriminate against both patients and medical staff.

“The health sector is not qualified to face the burdens of the segregation policy, which will increase patient traffic in the evening and this will worsen the level of service,” she said.

“Such policy contradicts the standards and ethics of the medical profession. It also clashes with legal standards and international treaties related to human rights.”

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Posted by: Roger

Just wait until 2020, and all problems will be solved. Combine the medical needs of the Kuwaiti citizens with medical tourism offered in the UAE. To get maximum benefit, only Emirati doctors should be used, of course.

Posted by: kingkaiser

The fact that specialists tend to work during morning hours is what makes this proposal even more negative. Effectively, you're cursing the expat population to non-specialized healthcare.

Perhaps this proposal would work better if citizens got priority for 1 hour or so a day, as opposed to the entire morning?

Posted by: Doug

I wouldn't worry, the market will kill the initiative.

Healthcare in the Middle East is a market. The largest market, by nature of population, will be expats.

In other words, the Kuwaiti government is going to tell hospitals they have to restrict the hours in which they can make money from their biggest customer base.

There's no way that private hospitals will put up with this level of restriction. They'll either have to fight back....or close down, thus making it even harder for Kuwaitis to get access to quality treatment.

Posted by: Tamara

Actually I don't blame anyone who has come up with such a suggestion, because the expat population is increasing by 50/60,000 a year, what with the baby boom. Whereas the Kuwaiti population is less than a million. Definitely the Kuwaiti's deserve some benefits from their own country. Why should the Kuwaitis spend long hours in the Q? The expats are never ending thus the Kuwaitis get frustrated. If you visit a clinic you will see for yourself that the Kuwaitis are in a minority, compared to the thousands of expats. The Kuwaiti government must take care of their citizens first.

Posted by: Henry

Support your local population, reduce the need for foreigners, avoid destruction of your culture.
Let your own people clean!

Posted by: Frank F

Dear Mohammed

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by: mohammed

Dear Tamara,

while it is true that any government must take care of it's citizens, it is also responsible for all residents in the country. People seem to forget that the reason these expats are in Kuwait is because Kuwait invited them to fill in positions that is needed for the country's development. Without expat's it would be impossible for,Kuwait to develop. Medical treatment is not a luxury. It is the least Kuwait can do for those who left their homeland to help Kuwaitis build theirs.

Posted by: rednrosy

just wondering when they add segragated buses, segragated hotels, lifts and water fountains...oh to make it easier it may make sense to have the non locals wear a yellow band on the arm with a letter indicating the nationality, this would make it much easier to police.

Posted by: Mary M

@Telcoguy - you obviously don't understand this country, Kuwaitis by nature, don't want anything Kuwaiti and the rich in Kuwait get 'wasta' to get their healthcare needs met in Europe and the US at the government's expense, but what I see as a solution is that the Kuwait government allocate special clinics for labours. Unfortunately, the Kuwaitis never organized labour areas like Al Quoz in Kuwait, so there are labour camps all over the country in residential areas which poses a problem. I would build quality low cost heathcare centres for expats in Kuwait with expat doctors/nurses and let the Kuwaitis have the government clinics. In Kuwait there is mandatory healthcare fees in iquama's for expats. I would also end free healthcare for nationals in the GCC and governments would formulate a healthcare company that does not discriminate against sick patients that everyone would pay into, because with the high costs of healthcare, these governments can no longer deal with the costs.

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